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Origin and Habitat: Kalanchoe linearifolia is not rare between Ampanihy and Tanjona Vohimena. Madagascar.
Habitat and ecology: This species grows on limestone in xerophytic thorn-bush, where the plants often receive support from surrounding shrubs, and often grows in association Kalanchoe beharensis and Kalanchoe delagoense. This species has red flowers without which it would be hard to separate from the other vegetation.
- Kalanchoe linearifolia Drake
Kalanchoe linearifolia Drake
Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. (Paris) 9: 41 1903.
Description: Kalanchoe linearifolia is a glabrous, perennial, regularly branched shrubs, 1-1.5 m tall. As the plants get larger tend to become untidy and may need the support of surrounding vegetation, or branches fall off. The leaves are cylindrical and succulent. It produces purple urn-shaped flowers in terminal inflorescences.
Stems: Terete, very woody, some-what climbing. The flowering branches are stiff and erect and carry in their upper part, from twelve to fifteen pairs of opposite leaves. The first upper internode is approx 4-6.5 cm long, the second is c. 6 cm long, the third is 2 to 3 cm long, the fourth is 2 cm, the fifth is 1.2 cm and the sixth is 0.5 cm long. The foliar scars, are small, lateral, not meeting to each other and disappear rapidly.
Leaves: Decussate (opposite), sessile, somewhat canaliculate (furrowed) on their upper surface, long-cylindrical, 3-13 cm long, red-brown, 4 to 10 mm wide, somewhat constricted in their lower part, bu not amplexicaul, attenuated in their upper part to the acute apex. This inflorescence is sometimes formed by a two-sided cyme several times branched, sometimes composed of three primary pedicels carrying a branched cyme. Erect, fleshy and dilated at the top, the pedicels are 6 to 8.50 mm long.
Inflorescences: The flowering branches are not distinct from the vegetative shoot and are terminated at the summit by a laxly thyrsoid inflorescence 4-13 cm long, and 5-13 cm wide. Pedicels 6-8 mm long.
Flowers: Erect to spreading, bright scarlet, urn-shaped. Calix green, red-tinged, very fleshy, tube 2-3 mm wide, lobes deltoid (triangular), acute, c. 3-4 x 4.5 mm. Corolla urceolate, very fleshy, brilliant red, tube 4-angled, 7 -11 mm long, narrowed in the lower part to the non-dilated base, gradually attenuating towards the apex, where they narrow rather abruptly and terminate in long acute segments, these segments are fleshy, carinate ( with a conspicuous keel) 3-5 mm long and 1.2-4 mm wide. The corolla lobes are somewhat recurved outwards. Stamens free. The top of filaments, are inserted between two contiguous petals just above the middle of the corollary tube, and does not reach the middle of the segments of the corolla (not exerted). Anthers ovate-oblong, 2-2.5 mm. Nectar-glands rectangular, 0.6 x 1.5 - 2 mm. Style 2-3 mm long.
Seeds: Obovate, c. 2.5 mm.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Crassulaceae” Springer Science & Business Media, 06 December 2012
2) Werner Rauh, Herman Schwartz “Succulent and xerophytic plants of Madagascar”, Volume 2 Strawberry Press, 1998
3) “Annales du Musée Colonial de Marseille” Marseille (France) Musée colonial 1914
4) Arne Balder Roderich Witt “Biological controll of Brryophyllum delagoense (Crassulaceae)” A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Johannesburg, 2011
Cultivation and Propagation: Kalanchoe linearifolia is a new small species that can provide some interest for fans, especially for its brilliant red blooms. It easy to culture and makes an interesting blooming potted plant and is rewarding as indoor plant. It's grown primarily for its flowers. They'll even bloom in low light, making them good for indoor dish gardens.
Potting mix: Use a soil based potting mixture with the addition of a small amount of coarse sand, pumice or lava grit to ensure good drainage. They grow best in clay pots for aeration and need drainage holes in the bottom. Setting the container on a dish filled with rocks or gravel provides extra drainage.
Exposure: Keep this plant out of strong, direct sunlight; although exposure to the morning sun is fine. In the home should be grown in sunny window.
Repotting: Plants that are not to be discarded should be moved each spring into pots one size larger. The maximum pot size needed should be about 12 cm.
Watering: It needs moderate watering in autumn and spring while in summer it should be watered thoroughly and allowed to dry before watering again. In winter give only occasional watering (only when the plant starts shrivelling), but it will generally grow even in winter if given water. Avoid using cold water when watering plants because it could shock the plant.
Fertilization: From the end of spring to the beginning of autumn, feed the plant with a monthly dose of fertiliser. Pruned plants may be given a dose of full strength fertilising as a boost.
Frost resistance: This species grow well in normal room temperatures. It is native to Madagascar and will bloom at temperatures of between 15 and 16 degrees Celsius. Avoid temperatures below 5°C because they can kill the plant after a few hours.
Maintenance: Kalanchoes hold the blooms on for many weeks and after the blooms lose their luster, it is pruned back hard and given spell in the garden, it will flower again next season. Pinch off the faded flowers and continue to pinch the tips of the plants for a few more months to promote a bushy plant. If not pruned the plants become leggy and need to be replaced.
Propagation: It is propagated by removal of tip cuttings in spring and root them in 8 cm pots filled with a mixture of peat moss and sand. Pot pots in a warm position in bright filtered light. Water the mixture whenever the top 1-2 cm dries out. When roots have formed and new growth appears, move each young plant into a pot of standard mixture. It grows easily roots and new plants are ready within months.
Warning: Parts of Kalanchoe are poisonous if ingested. All members of Kalanchoe are toxic for livestock, birds and small animals.
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